Friday, July 28, 2006

Finally, an article that gives the low-down on biodiesel

It's at Scientific American: Fuel Change

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Article on why intuition often gets science wrong

Interesting article at Scientific American, though it starts out well, it ends with a jab at prayer and healing which I thought was odd.

Folk Science -- Why our intuitions about how the world works are often wrong

Monday, July 24, 2006

First Bath for Daddy

This weekend was my first bath with Simone. Mary's given her a few baths, but this time I got to be the one in the water with her. It was probably her most peaceful bath so far. But I'm sure that had more to do with her age than anything I did.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hot stuff

It's gonna be hot this weekend. Heck, it was hot yesterday when I worked on the fence.

Simone doesn't do well in the heat, she ... melts down. heh

Anyway, we headed to the beach where it's nice and cool. We took the cats as well - they did very well, and after coating the interior of the car with a fine layer of cat fur, settled down and actually seemed to enjoy the car ride.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fencing

So, the computers at work decided to take a vacation day, which means I'm gonna work on the fence. Woo-hoo! Put on some sunscreen, grab a lemonade (Lynchburg????), and get to work!

This is what it looks like (the black plastic is covering the dirt we dug up for the patio project last summer, we'll take care of it after the fence is done):

A conservative's view of the the current state of affairs

Interesting article at the Boston Globe, Triumph of the authoritarians.

Hat tip to Ze.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

They're on to me...

Just recently I've had to do that 'word verification' thingy to post my blog entries.

I guess my drivel is just that mundane:

Your blog requires word verification

Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

Poor-man's Lynchburg Lemonade

I'm a huge fan of the Lynchburg lemonade. It used to be that the bar at Touche made a mean Lynchburg, but I've not been there in quite a while. A good one is made from a muddled orange and lemon chunks, some sugar, Gran Marinier, Jack Daniel's, and some soda water.

Mary used to work at a restaurant, and they served lemonade with a touch of orange juice. So now when I make lemonade (just plain Safeway brand, the organic stuff tastes different, and costs 10X as much) I squeeze an orange in. yum.

Just take a glass of that and add a shot or two of whiskey, and voila!

Make sure you warn your wife so she doesn't accidentally steal a swig of something she thought was plain lemonade.

Transition Complete

We made the switch, it is complete.

You see, we started Simone on disposable diapers because the cloth ones we had were way too big. Then we got the smaller cloth diapers, and they soaked through instantly... Then we were somewhat hooked on disposable, because they are so easy. And, the number of options for cloth diapers is daunting. Mary had done a bunch of reading (I'd done some), and she'd chosen two sets - one was the whisper-wrap and the bumGenius.

Mary knows a lady who has her own business selling cloth diapers and accessories. She had a bunch of the smallest sizes of different options and lent them to us - which was very useful. We were able to try out different covers and pocket diapers and see which ones worked and didn't. Mary's research was confirmed, the whisper wrap and bumGenius are both good choices and worked well.

After using all the choices for a few weeks, we figured out that we wanted to go whole-hog with the bumGenius. They are just so easy to use, work very well, they grow with the child (yes, they fit her now, and are big enough to fit her when she's 1.5 years old), and are a very cost-effective choice (they'll pay for themselves in 3 months of diaper service or disposables).

It's pretty exciting.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Fence Update

So, as expected, the fence didn't get put up in the two weekends we'd "projected."

I took Saturday off and hung with Mary and Simone - a very lovely day of rest. Sunday rolled around, and I started working around 10:30 (went to church and then ate something). Mom and dad came down to help - which meant Dad helped and mom got to see Simone (which, of course, was very helpful, but didn't get the fence up any faster).

Dad and I got a pretty good system down and put up 5 sections of fence before lunch (2:30 or so), and after lunch we put up the rails on the south section. I've no idea why putting up rails takes so long, but it took a definite chunk of time. The fence boards (morning work) went smoothly once we got our system down.

So, now I've just got to do 9 sections on the south side of our property, and another 6 or so between our two properties. Working an hour or two each night - we should get these done in two weeks (no weekends).

While putting up the rails for the south side (think the left side of the horizontal line of a capital T), it became abundantly clear that my property slopes down dramatically as you get to that 3-way intersection. The last fence section abutting the T intersection will be a good 8 inches (or more) higher than the last section going north (vertical line of T) and even higher than Robert's fence. Dad thought this might look odd, and Robert chimed in with something to that effect as well.

I'm still going to go with a "tall" section of fence, because no matter how you slice it, the ground slopes a lot, and I'm going to have 5-6" differences between fence sections already, and clipping the top of that last section will just shift the dramatic change more into my yard. Especially since we're going to level out the yard in that section anyway - which means raising the level of ground. So any shortening of fence would just result in us effectively having a shorter fence.

So, some dinner tonight, and back to the fence.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Moms Prefer Smell of Their Own Baby's Poop

I'm all for science, but where in the heck did they get the volunteers for this?

LiveScience.com - Moms Prefer Smell of Their Own Baby's Poop

Of course, while I don't think Simone's poop smells like perfume, I'd smell it and 12 other diapers for $100.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

The summer project is a fence. Some new neighbors moved in and started the ball rolling to get a fence in. So we're putting in a cedar, neighbor-friendly, fence. And we're doing it ourselves.

Of course neither of us have done a fence before, but we figured it wouldn't be too hard. Though I think we over-thought parts of it, things are going smoothly (if a bit slow). Last weekend we dug a bunch of holes for the posts and began to set posts in them. My buddy, Miles came down and helped out.

I think the key learnings are as follows:
  • Get the post holes right, because if they're off, the fence will be off.
  • Buy 10' posts, so you can lop the tops off to the height you want (we're not doing that).
  • Mix the concrete in the post hole, just add water then cement and mix.
We put up one panel last night, just to work out any issues and to see if we were thinking the same thing about the fence. It looks real sharp. I'm looking forward to the final result.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Quote of the month for me

I read this blog entry last night and thought the following paragraph was very eloquently and powerful.

Smooth Pebbles: Climate change as a test of empiricism and secular democracy: "The spread of empiricism, in fact, has been essential not only to the rise not just of science but of pluralistic democracy. In order to accommodate many perspectives and beliefs, we agree to abide by the rule of law rather than religiion [sic]. Deciding policy and law based mainly on facts — on testable questions — frees us from quibbling endlessly about what beliefs are correct. We use rules based on a small handful of secular values, such as the integrity of the individual and the rights to property and privacy. And we agree to adjudicate those rules according to testable fact. Empiricism underlies not just science but all of pluralistic, rights-based society."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

WPCDD

This is so true.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Big Spanish Castle

Wow, phenomenal optical illusion. Seems totally impossible.
Big Spanish Castle

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Overheard in New York - honorable mention

There's this blog that has random quotes from people in NYC, heard by strangers and put up on the blog. They're usually pretty odd and funny (often vulgar), but the headlines really make the quotes.. A few weeks ago they opened up a contest where you got to submit the headline for the particular quote. I was one of the runners-up for this one:

Overheard in New York | Happy Birthday K-Fed